Colombus Crew v D.C. United

Can D.C. United turn their season around after win?

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D.C. United did something they hadn’t done for a while on Saturday night.

They won a game in MLS.

This statement may be hugely premature given D.C. United’s status as bottom feeders in the Eastern conference, however, will their 1-0 victory against the San Jose Earthquakes prove to be the turning point in their season?

United were on a franchise-worst 13-game winless streak prior to the Earthquakes rolling into town. Ben Olsen’s men hadn’t won since defeating Real Salt Lake 1-0 back in March. That was 105 days ago and they’ve been desperately searching for three points ever since.

D.C. must have been wondering when it would arrive. But now that it has, can Dwayne De Rosario and Chris Pontius drag this club up from the depths and push for the playoffs?

Woooh, hold your horses there. It is too soon for talk like that.

Simply put, D.C. have been on a horror run. They have nine points from 16 MLS games and the teams in the playoff spots have 22 points. That is a lot of ground to make up. In 2013, defensive mistakes, key decisions going against them, injuries, red cards, calamitous own goals… you name it, it has all been going against the capital club.

But they can still garner some respectability from this season. Maybe not make the playoffs, but the standings are tight. So if this win does spark a four or five game unbeaten streak, all of a sudden United’s prospects could be looking a lot rosier.

Of course that is easier said than done. But following their narrow win against San Jose, a feeling of relieve around RFK was evident as Olsen spoke in his post-match press conference.

We’ve all been tested and we’ll continue to be tested the rest of this year and for the next busy two weeks. It’s been brutal. It’s been brutal for the staff, the players. It’s been brutal for the organization. It’s been brutal for our fans. But what I’m most proud of is that we kept things moving forward.

Going forward, D.C. United now have a run of four games in 11 days, starting with an Open Cup quarterfinal against the New England Revolution on Wednesday night.

Then they host Vancouver before tough trips to Seattle and Colorado. The next two weeks could define D.C.’s season.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City SC 2-1 Montreal Impact

Cyle Larin, Orlando City SC

The game in 100 words (or less): For weeks, it was a widely held belief that the Montreal Impact would snatch up the sixth and final playoff place in the Eastern Conference with little or no resistance from their opposition. As they went six games unbeaten (four wins), all looked to be setting up perfect for the club that fired Frank Klopas midseason, but there was another team in the race for sixth that kept winning themselves: Orlando City SC. On Saturday night, Montreal and Orlando City faced off at the Citrus, with the expansion Lions claiming their fourth-straight victory with a 2-1 triumph. Montreal now holds a one-point lead on Orlando in the race for sixth, and have two games in hand, but it’s no longer a foregone conclusion L’Impact will qualify for the playoffs no resistance whatsoever.

[ MORE: | Week 30 TOTW | POTW ]

Three moments that mattered

33′ — Bush’s mistake gifts Larin the opening goal — Larin did what your taught to do as a striker — “put it on frame, test the goalkeeper” — but in no universe does a shot so feeble have any business finding the back of the net. Evan Bush has been great this year. Hopefully (for Montreal’s sake), this howler doesn’t turn into the yips with the playoffs looming.

43′ — Hall’s “mistake” gifts Oduro an equalizer — Dominic Oduro equalized in the 43rd minute, when he took the ball out of the hands of Tally Hall and smashed it into the back of the net, but the goal should have been disallowed due to Hall having full control of the ball.

80′ — Hines hits the winner for Orlando — Seb Hines put the ball back into the mixer and just so happened to find the back of the net in the 80th minute. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Seb Hines

Goalscorers: Larin (33′), Oduro (43′), Hines (80′)

MLS Snapshot: NY Red Bulls 2-1 Columbus Crew SC

Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York Red Bulls
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The game in 100 words (or less): Two weeks in a row Columbus Crew SC have had a chance to go top of the Eastern Conference with a victory, and two weeks in a row Crew SC have failed to take a single point from massively important fixtures. Their latest defeat, a 2-1 humbling at the hands of the East-leading New York Red Bulls, started so well for Gregg Berhalter’s side, but was undone by a pair of costly, comedic defensive errors that allowed Lloyd Sam and Bradley Wright-Phillips (15th of the season) to erase an early deficit (Justin Meram) and win all three points. The result not only keeps the Red Bulls top of the East, but gives them a three- and four-point cushion with three and two games in hand on their nearest competitors., D.C. United and New England Revoltion respectively. For Crew SC, they’re four points back of the Red Bulls in fourth place, one point ahead of fifth-place Toronto FC, who have a game in hand.

[ MORE: | Week 30 TOTW | POTW ]

Three moments that mattered

9′ — Meram pokes it past Robles for an early lead — Meram “earned” his goal all the way back in midfield, when the Iraqi international’s mazy run took a routine turnover inside Crew SC’s defensive half and turned it into a dangerous counter-attacking opportunity. Harrison Afful overlapped and provided the cross for Meram to send home.

12′ — Sam capitalizes on multiple mistakes to equalize — Crew SC pass the ball out of the back. They don’t boot it forward to clear. It’s just what they do. Sometimes, that’ll bite you. When your goalkeeper and right back both have blunders clearing the ball 10 seconds apart, you probably deserve to concede an ugly, scrappy goal.

21′ — Wright-Phillips capitalizes on more defensive gaffes — See the above description for Red Bulls goal no. 1.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Damien Perrinelle

Goalscorers: Meram (9′), Sam (12′), Wright-Phillips (21′)